About Aspire What is Aspire?
Aspire is a leading service provider of smart retirement solutions through a proprietary, highly customizable, technology-enabled open-architecture platform with private-label branding options. Delivering a cost-effective and transparent pricing structure, we offer the most extensive capabilities nationwide for all plan types and all retirement plan stakeholders. Aspire links the retirement planning community together to deliver smart solutions for any plan type independent of average account balance or plan size—enabling our partners and customers with strong economic value and competitive advantage through a cost-effective transparent pricing structure and fully built operational model. Through our innovative method—placing investment and provider choice and transparency first—we are changing the retirement recordkeeping market and the industry overall.
Who in the retirement industry does Aspire serve?
Aspire’s offerings enable our strategic distribution partners to better serve their clients while growing their businesses.
We ultimately serve today’s workers and retirees by empowering TPAs and financial advisors that are looking for better choices, better results and more efficient administration.
For us, retirement readiness is behind everything we do. First and foremost, we are advocates for the participant.
What capabilities does Aspire deliver to the marketplace?
Our proprietary technology and communications platform for retirement plan administration is at the core of what we offer the retirement community. Built on open architecture, Aspire was the first provider to bring to market a solution that put the participant in the driver’s seat, all while driving competitive advantage for our strategic distribution partners. No other company offers our breadth and depth of technology.
As a BPO service provider for all plan types, we support 401(k); 403(b); 457; SEP, SIMPLE and Roth IRAs; and Defined Contribution plans. Our solutions support any plan type independent of account balance or plan size.
We offer unbiased investment choices and the freedom to choose any TPA or advisor.
Aspire offers a flat-fee pricing model to deliver stronger profit margins for our customers and plan participants. Our fees do not change with fund choices, average account balances or account size. Offering unmatched and complete transparency and disclosure, our solutions use the same investment menus for a $20M client that we do for a start-up plan.
Aspire’s commitment to our product and service offering is transforming how the industry operates today.
What does open architecture mean exactly?
Taking an open-architecture approach to designing retirement plans means putting participants first. Retirement plan designers are best positioned for success when they design without compromise or conflicts. Open architecture enables the ability to choose from multiple custodians, TPAs, investment strategists and money managers. This allows plan designers to hand-craft investment line-ups and apply these choices across plans, with customization and branding. We believe that a retirement plan partnership should deliver the ability to provide the most cost-effective plan that produces the best choices and returns for participants.
Aspire’s open-architecture technology and communications platform makes available over 25,000 investment options from some of the industry’s most recognized custodians. Giving clients access to such a broad variety of investment types and classes makes it is easy to create custom allocation portfolios within plans.
How do TPAs, advisors and other organizations work with Aspire?
There are four different ways to work with Aspire:
- Configure to Fit – configure to your business needs from full-service BPO, selected services, or technology-only service and open architecture for plan design
- Package to Fit – packaged solutions based on your investment preferences and access to packaged solutions built with strategic partnerships
- Brand to Fit – private-label branding maintains your brand and builds brand recognition with your clients
- Partner to Fit – strategic relationships designed to link all aspects of the retirement planning process
What makes Aspire different?
With our deep domain expertise, Aspire specializes in providing smart retirement management solutions.
Our offering is designed to deliver what our customers want. We achieve success by offering a customizable, conflict-free, open-architecture technology and communications platform that delivers the freedom and flexibility of choice, drives competitive advantage and enables optimal retirement planning.
Our cost-effective, transparent pricing structure and single-threaded service model differentiate Aspire. Our proprietary technology and communications platform was built for a digital world—delivered via the web. It is highly scalable, adaptable and customizable.
What is InvestLinkSM?
Only Aspire offers InvestLink—our smart open-architecture platform designed to link people, investments and technology. The platform links all stakeholders through a central communications hub, links to over 25,000 investment options and links to private-label branding options. Each smart retirement solution is tailored to the needs of our customers, participants and plan types. The InvestLink platform is a robust tool for all strategic distribution channels and participant engagement.
How long has Aspire been in existence?
Aspire Financial Services, now Aspire, was founded in 2002. An advocate for the plan participant, Aspire President, CEO and co-founder Pete Kirtland championed fee disclosure for recordkeeping and management services years before fee disclosure was a requirement. This emphasis on transparency was a major draw for fiduciaries then, and it continues to lead the industry today.
What is Aspire's track record in terms of client delivery?
Aspire's world-class service model is enjoyed by our fast-growing national client base consisting of 8,000 plans and 300,000 participants, accounting for over $13 billion of assets.
Fully dedicated to delivering a best-of-breed customer service model, Aspire makes significant investments to enhance service delivery by adding top-quality professionals, developing internal training and automating processes. In 2013 alone, we expanded our leadership team and hired over 50 professionals to provide superior client service.
Our single-threaded service model is a conduit to further deliver on Aspire’s promise. The model begins from the initial point of a relationship and continues throughout every stage of a program. A fundamental component is our Client Services group, a multi-dimensional team that engages clients in three primary areas: implementation, relationship management and customer support.
Aspire’s key account management function includes a team of account managers assigned throughout the U.S. that execute a strategic account plan designed to foster strong and impactful relationships. This includes managing an effective plan design that aligns with customer needs, proactive collaboration and communications and performance measurement.
Overall, we deliver continuous improvement, consistent execution and collaborative communication with clients and other key constituencies. The Aspire model requires and will continue to lean on strong customer relationships and dialogue.
What geographies does the company serve?
Headquartered in Tampa, FL with a sales with account executives strategically located throughout the country, Aspire has approximately 150 employees fully committed to serving our national client base.
Is Aspire able to comment on retirement industry happenings?
As a proven, progressive and fiduciary-minded organization, our team’s opinions and commentary are regularly sought by leading national and financial media. The Aspire team includes some of the most knowledgeable experts in the retirement industry. Our professionals are able to offer perspective on topics, trends, regulations and other news items impacting the retirement space and those working within the industry. We welcome inquiries from the media and the industry.
How can I best contact the Aspire team?
For general information: contact the Call Center Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET at 866.634.5873
For service: Contact Us
For sales: firstname.lastname@example.org
For media: Shelia.Reed@aspireonline.com
What is Aspire’s vision and mission?
Vision: To be the most trusted and reliable service provider of smart retirement solutions for all plan types that drive competitive advantage and greater outcomes through enabling technology and superior customer service.
Mission: To revolutionize the industry with new ways of managing retirement plans through technology and business process outsourcing solutions that serve the needs of all stakeholders with conflict-free investment choices, cost-effective pricing and customization.
Aspire Thought Leadership
As an established, innovative and forward-thinking organization, the expertise of the Aspire team is regularly sought out by the national press and financial media. Our perspectives have been featured by the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Tampa Bay Business Journal, MoneyShow, InvestmentNews, Financial Planning, On Wall Street, PLANSPONSOR, PLANADVISER, 401kWire, BenefitsPro and Retirement Income Journal.
With a finger on the pulse of the retirement marketplace, our professionals are able to comment on topics, trends, regulations and other news items impacting the retirement space and those working within the industry. Some of the areas to which we can speak include:
Examples of our commentary include:
- The current state of the retirement industry landscape
- Retirement preparedness and participant concerns
- Plan design, price and delivery
- The negative fee impacts of basis-point retirement plan models/the benefits of flat-fee, transparent pricing
- Status of the fee disclosure movement
- Growing trends within retirement plans, including auto-enrollment and auto-escalation features
- Commentary on statements coming out of industry thought leaders like ASPPA, NTSAA, NAPA, NIPA and ACOPA
- Legislation and regulations imposed and proposed by the Department of Labor and other government entities
- Implications of the on-going fiduciary standard debate
- Gap analysis tool offerings: their role in delivering positive participant outcomes
- Evaluating record keeper and TPA value propositions
- Concerns regarding the dangers of TPA disenfranchisement by large institutions
- Reaching emerging audiences through non-traditional tools and techniques
- Strategies that enable TPAs and advisors to retain and grow retirement business
- Any and all topics related to 401(k); 403(b); 457; MEP; SEP, SIMPLE, and Roth IRAs; Defined Contribution and Non-Qualified plans
Pete Kirtland, On the Benefits of Unbundled 401ks, Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
profiled Aspire President and CEO Pete Kirtland in “Pete Kirtland, On the Benefits of Unbundled 401(k)s.” Written in Pete’s voice and directed toward an advisor audience, the article outlines just what advisors should seek in 401(k) partnerships, as Pete touts the benefits of an unbundled approach including the freedom to choose the best selection of investments. Back to school: Top tips for 403(b) and 457 advisors, PLANADVISER
Mark Luckinbill, VP and Managing Director of 403(b) and 457 Markets for Aspire, offered several key considerations for advisors seeking a 403(b) provider that suits their business in a contributed article penned for PLANADVISER
The next frontier: 401(k) plans present a wealth of opportunities for advisors, InvestmentNews InvestmentNews
tapped the expertise of Aspire President and CEO Pete Kirtland for an article explaining that retirement plans, especially those at small businesses, are the next frontier for financial advisors. Pete encourages plan sponsors to embrace the fiduciary designation rather than run from it. Retirement Fund Fees, If Ignored, Will Eat into Your Nest Egg, Washington Post
Pete Kirtland, President and CEO of Aspire, discussed with the Washington Post
exactly what 401(k) fee disclosures mean for plan participants. Pete cautions participants turning a blind eye to this information to be careful, as hidden fees can often be larger than investors realize and end up eating away at hard-earned savings.
A New Type of Retirement Plan Platform, On Wall Street
Pete Kirtland, Aspire’s President and CEO, talks about how the Aspire model differs from the thousands of other investment products and platforms on the market. Pete also discusses the benefits of gap-analysis tools for an industry that is beginning to shift focus to more closely manage participant outcomes.
Changes and Challenges in Retirement Plan Offerings, Financial Planning
With a potential retirement crisis threatening, there’s plenty for advisors to think about when it comes to retirement planning. Aspire President and CEO Pete Kirtland talks about gap analysis, education, and IRAs.